TACLOBAN CITY – Survivors in coastal communities badly hit by supertyphoon “Yolanda” has welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to move them to permanent homes as early as next month.
In the past two years, single mother Marilyn Singh, 51, and her children and grandchildren have been staying in a bunkhouse.
She commended the President for giving attention to them. “I agree with President Duterte. Why delay the housing projects if funds have already been available?” she asked.
Lucia Etolle, 61, shares a room with 10 other family members in the same bunkhouse made out of coconut lumber and plywood.
She lauded the President for being apologetic to the plight of survivors, who are compelled to stay in low lying coastal communities and makeshift houses.
“Suffering for nearly three years is too much. We really want to move to a new house with own toilet, stable water supply, and electricity,” said Etolle, who earns meager income from tailoring.
Weeks after Yolanda devastated the region, the government built bunkhouses for displaced families.
Each unit is divided into 24 rooms for each family. The room measures 8.64 square meters—roughly the size of two ping-pong tables.
The two mothers are among the 50 families still living in bunkhouses built in a government-owned lot in Barangay Kalipayan, this city.
These families are scheduled for transfer to housing projects in the northern part of the city funded by an international non-government organization.
In Brgy. San Roque, Tanauan, Leyte several families opted to stay in makeshift houses built near the shoreline even after the turnover of permanent housing units to them.
“Living here is more convenient. It’s closer to the sea where we earn about P300 daily from fishing. What’s the point of having a new home if we have nothing to eat?” asked Yiyi Quista, 44, a mother of five.
“With the President’s order, I am positive that concerned government agencies will address the livelihood aspect of relocation,” she added.
During the 3rd Yolanda anniversary on November 8, Duterte asked concern agencies to fast track the assistance to survivors, especially housing-related concerns.
“I am not satisfied. In three years only few families were transferred to their permanent houses. The national offices, the respective departments, they’re only given one month to process the paper and it must be out,” the President said.
Thousands of Yolanda survivors converged in town plazas and mass grave sites to celebrate resilience and remember those who perished when Yolanda the Visayas in 2013.